Anastrepha ludens

Scientific Name Anastrepha ludens (Loew)
Common Names English: Mexican fruit fly; German: Mexikanische Fruchtfliege; Spanish: Mosca Mexicana de la Fruta
Description The adult (7-11 mm; 0.27-0.43 inch in length) is a little larger than a housefly and yellowish-brown in color. The female has a very noticeable ovipositor. The larvae are white maggots, up to 12 mm (0.47 inch) in length.

Biology

Damage

When fruits ripen and start to change color, the females puncture the skin and lay their eggs in batches of up to about a dozen eggs deep into the pulp, leaving typical small entrance holes that remain visible. After 1-2 weeks, the larvae hatch and begin feeding on the interior of the fruit, which also starts to decay, due to secondary infection by microorganisms introduced during oviposition. Numerous maggots can be found in a single fruit, rapidly turning its interior into a soft, putrid mass, but even lightly-infested fruits are unsuitable for human consumption.
Later on, infested fruits will drop prematurely, their inner decomposition reflected by their outer appearance. The larvae leave noticeable holes on exiting from the dropped fruit.

Lifecycle

This fly can produce up to six generations a year under optimal conditions. In its area of origin in north-eastern Mexico, however, only 2-3 generations per year occur, with peak densities in spring and autumn. This is probably due to the locally hot and dry summers and the lack of suitable host plants. Adult females can live for nearly a year, which allows the population to persist through periods that do not present an opportunity for reproduction. A single female can produce several thousand eggs.
Larval development comprises three instars and needs 2-4 weeks, depending on temperature. On leaving the fallen fruits, the maggots burrow into the soil for pupation. The adults emerge after 2-3 weeks, and are ready to lay eggs 1-3 weeks later.
In cooler areas, the insects overwinter as the pupal stage. The first adult flies emerge in Jan/Feb from eggs laid in Oct/Nov. In other areas, they can be found throughout the year.

Occurrence

Additional Crop Information

Mainly Citrus varieties, Mango, Peach and Avocado, but also Apple, Guave and other Fruits.

Agricultural Importance

A. ludens is found in Mexico and Central America, from Costa Rica in the South up to the southern USA, mainly in California and Texas, into which it migrates annually from the south. The insects can fly over a distance of 100 km (62.14 miles). Imported fruits containing larvae comprise a serious risk for uninfested areas. In Mexico, yield losses have been estimated at more than 25% in susceptible crops. Considered among all of the fruit flies, A. ludens is probably the most serious pest in the neotropics.

Control

Integrated Crop Management

Removing all infested or fallen fruits immediately and destroying them can considerably reduce population densities, and thereby, damage.

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